ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the major opposition party in the Senate, Tuesday raised 52 points on the foreign policy of the government asking the ruling PML-N to clarify its foreign policy on a host of issues ranging from TTP talks to national security policy.
PPP parliamentary leader Rabbani raising 52 questions on foreign policy said that the incumbent government had neither clarified its foreign policy nor taken into confidence the Upper House of the Parliament on its foreign policy since it took over six months ago. “This has forced me to raise 52 points on different issues with regard to government’s foreign policy,” he said.
It is likely that Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security, will today conclude the debate on foreign policy.
Rabbani raised his points on a host of issues including TTP talks, government’s foreign policy regarding Afghanistan as well as US, Doha talks, India’s violations along the line of control (LOC), the formation of National Security Council and on parliamentary oversight.
On TTP talks, Rabbani said, could the government specify the group or groups of the Taliban it plans to hold negotiations with? Will the government talk to groups that fail to recognize the constitutional framework of the State of Pakistan? What is the government’s position on TTP’s basic demands for Shriah rule and creation of Islamic emirates in Pakistan and Afghanistan? Does the government share the TTP spokesman’s point of view that the imposition of their version of Shria if possible through negotiations they can negotiate and democracy does not fit into the scheme? What is the government’s position on TTP spokesman’s recent statement that there are three pre-conditions for talks including the release of TTP prisoners, the pull out of security forces from tribal areas and end of drone attacks.
About the Afghan policy, Rabbani asking the government’s Afghan policy said was Pakistan an equal partner in he final Afghan solution? What was the gist of the President Karzai’s visit to Pakistan and Prime Minister’s visit to Kabul? How does this fit in with repeated claims by the government that it wants an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan i.e. Afghan led and Afghan owned?
Asking questions about government’s foreign policy regarding US, the senior PPP legislator said what was the gist of the US Secretary of Defence’s visit to Pakistan. Is it correct that Secretary of Defence threatened a delay in payment of Pakistan’s outstanding amounts, as a result of the stoppage of NATO supplies by some political parties? What will Pakistan’s role be post and prior to 2014 in Afghanistan? Why has the federal government abdicated its constitutional role by allowing political parties to block NATO supplies, or can this be taken as a tacit approval of the federal government? Did the PM raise the drone issue in Washington, if so what was the response? What is Pakistan’s position on the Iran gas pipeline project?
Regarding Doha Talks, the lawmaker inquired from the government that what was the role of Pakistan, if any, in the opening and establishment of Doha office of the Taliban and if there was a Pakistani role, then which agency/department facilitated the same? What is the fate of the Doha talks after the reaction of Kabul?
On government’s foreign policy regarding India, Rabbani questioned what were the reasons for India to escalate violations along the Line of Control and what is India’s response to maintaining LoC ceasefire?
About the national security, he inquired from the government that is the formation of National Security Council (NSC) a negation of Charter of Democracy (CoD) and who initiated the proposal of the NSC? What is the composition of NSC and what are the terms of reference of the council? Is the NSC a step towards conceding civilian supremacy over national security issues to the military bureaucracy? What is the parliamentary input/supervision on the policies of national security after the formation of this council? Is the council responsible to Parliament? Is NSC continuation of the same formed by General (retd) Musharraf?
Elaborating his last points on parliamentary oversight, Rabbani questioned that to what extent are the new terms of engagement approved by Parliament being implemented? Are the terms and conditions laid down in the new terms of engagement, passed by the Parliament, with particular reference to the withdrawal of US/ISAF forces being implemented?
Haji Adeel Ahmed of ANP, speaking on the motion, criticized Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its coalition partners in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for blocking NATO supplies what he said that it was tantamount to deprive the people of the province from their major source of income being generated through the transportation of NATO supplies. He also condemned the federal government for becoming a silent spectator on the issue.
Responding to a call attention notice of Senator Moula Bukhsh Chandio, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique informed the House that there was no proposal under discussion of the ministry to close down 450 railways stations throughout the country. He said that only 35 out of 51 railways stations en route Lodhran to Shahdra were being closed for maintenance purposes. He informed that 58 new locomotives would come into the system this year adding that the government could not make operational already closed railway stations. The minister said that there was a proposal under consideration to use to the railway lands for non-core business to generate money to take the department out of the fiscal deficit. He also said that provinces were not ready to take back the railway lands and the issue would be raised before Council of Common Interests (CCI).
“We’re going to start a pilot project of railways in Karachi,” he informed.
Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari deferred a privilege motion of Haji Adeel Ahmed for some time asking Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq to summon inspector general of police (IGP) Islamabad and chief commission asking them as to why parliamentarians were stopped from getting out of the parliamentary lodges last night.
Senator Saleem Mandviwala on a point of order said that the removal of Chairman NADRA Traiq Malik was a very sensitive matter and this required debate in the House He said Law Minister Punjab Rana Sanaullah personally called chairman NADRA in Lahore and he was asked to stop thumb impression verification process. “When he refused, chief minister Punjab also asked him to do the same in a separate meeting,” he added.
The chair ruled that the matter was sub judice while Senator Zhaid Khan criticized the chairman NADRA saying he was a Canadian national and he remained deputy chairman NADRA for four years in violation of NADRA Ordinance.